The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed 10-time NBA All-Star and 19-year veteran Paul Pierce to a contract, enabling him to retire as a member of the organization with which he spent his first 15 NBA seasons.
“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court,” said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. “We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic,” Pierce said. “The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life.”
Drafted by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, Pierce’s 15 seasons in Boston from 1998-99 to 2012-13 trails only John Havlicek (16) for the most ever spent in a Celtics uniform. He produced 21.8 points (44.7% FG, 37.0% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.44 steals and 36.6 minutes in 1,102 career games (1,099 starts) in the green and white.
Pierce’s name will forever be a constant throughout the Celtics’ all-time leaderboards. The California native tops the franchise lists in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics’ second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points.
Earning his iconic nickname “The Truth” during his third NBA season in 2000-01, Pierce also retires in the organization’s top-10 lists in games played (3rd – 1 ,102), minutes played (3rd – 40,360), field goals (3rd – 7,882), field goal attempts (2nd – 17,630), three-point field goal attempts (1st – 4,928), free throw attempts (1st – 7,979), offensive rebounds (8th – 1,008), rebounds (7th – 6,651), assists (5th – 4,305) and blocked shots (4th – 668).
Pierce’s knack for postseason success further cements his legendary status in a Celtics uniform. Boston qualified for the playoffs in 10 of Pierce’s 15 seasons with the team, ranking him seventh on the franchise’s all-time playoff leaderboard with 136 postseason games played. The crafty forward averaged 20.9 points (41.9% FG, 33.9% 3-PT, 83.4% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.32 steals in 39.8 minutes in his Celtics playoff career. Pierce – who owns the fifth most playoff points in franchise history at 2,843 – averaged north of 20.0 points in six separate postseason runs, including a playoff career-high 27.1 points over 10 games in just his second career playoff appearance in 2002-03.
One of Pierce’s greatest postseason accomplishments coincides with the Celtics’ most recent NBA title in 2008. Making his first career NBA Finals appearance, Pierce followed up a 22-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 1 victory with 28 more points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-4 3-PT) and eight assists in Boston’s Game 2 triumph. His 38 points in Game 5 of those Finals represented his second-highest scoring total in 26 postseason games that year. Pierce produced 21.8 points (43.2% FG, 39.3% 3-PT, 83.0% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.08 steals and 38.8 minutes in that six-game series, helping the Celtics raise their NBA-record 17th championship banner and their first since 1986. Named the Most Valuable Player of that 2008 clash, Pierce became the third Celtic ever to earn MVP honors in his first NBA Finals Appearance (Jo Jo White – 1974, Cedric Maxwell – 1981).
Spanning over his 19-year NBA career, Pierce averaged 19.7 points (44.5% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.31 steals and 34.2 minutes in 1,343 games (1,285 starts) with Boston, Brooklyn, Washington and the LA Clippers. He ended the 2016-17 season as the only active NBA player with at least 25,000 career points, 7,000 rebounds and 4,500 assists.